Montgomery Bus Boycott
• In the Southern States there was a
policy of segregation on buses.
• This involved whites sitting in the
front and blacks sitting nearest to
the front had to give up their seats
to any whites that were standing.
• On 1st December,
1955, Rosa Parks, a
Alabama, who was
tired after a hard
day's work, refused
to give up her seat
to a white man.
• She was arrested.
• After her arrest,
Martin Luther King,
a minister at the
local Baptist Church,
protests against bus
segregation. He was
joined by other
campaigners for civil
• The idea was that the black people in
Montgomery should refuse to use the buses.
• For thirteen months the 17,000 black people
in Montgomery walked to work or took lifts.
• Dr King emphasised that the protest must be
• We are here, we are here this evening
because we're tired now. Now let us say that
we are not here advocating violence. We have
overcome that……. We believe in the teachings
of Jesus. The only weapon that we have in our
hands this evening is the weapon of
protest………. There will be no crosses burned
at any bus stops in Montgomery. There will be
no white persons pulled out of their homes
and taken out to some distant road and
• Blacks were not so lucky
• King was arrested for leading the
boycott and fined $500.
• His house was fire-bombed.
• Others involved in the Montgomery Bus
Boycott also suffered from harassment
and intimidation, but the protest
• Eventually, the loss of revenue and a
decision by the Supreme Court on 13th
November, 1956, forced the
Montgomery Bus Company to give in.
• The following month the buses in
Montgomery were desegregated.
• King became famous, he was a natural
leader and became chief spokes person
for the bus boycott.
• His sermons boosted morale and kept
the protest going.
• As a result he became leader of the
Southern Christian Leadership
Conference SCLC which organised non
violent action to defy segregation laws.